We can’t help but Viva L’Opera
~posted by Alison Cowden, KMFA eCommunications Manager
Recently I had the great pleasure of attending the Texas Choral Consort’s Summer performance: “Viva L’Opera!” The program featured a wonderfully diverse array of choruses from many beloved operas.
While I expected to recognize a few of the tunes from the more famous operas, and to enjoy a few I had never heard of before… I did not expect it to be so fun! You can always count on TCC delivering high-quality solo vocalists and well rehearsed synchronicity among the chorus artists, and choral pieces often have the reputation of being somber and contemplative. But this summer consortium injected a bit of humor into the mix and kept our hearts light in the face of over-the-top tragic opera plot lines. The audience couldn’t help but laugh out loud throughout the performance.
To begin with, a video of “What’s Opera, Doc?” (the old Bugs Bunny cartoon) was played overhead while the chorus members filed in to their assigned places, row by row.
Then KMFA’s own on-air host, Dianne Donovan, came to the stage to officially introduce the program.
And then the narrator walked on stage: Ev Lunning, Jr. provided short and hilarious narratives about each set of choruses, complete with props! (Mr. Lunning is a familiar face in Austin’s theatre scene, as well as a famous voice-over talent and TV artist.) He started out with a horned helmet, and later appearances included a bridal veil, a flowing red cape, an arrow through his head, and a large margarita glass!
Even the musicians got into the game…Occasionally, the percussionist would step forward in some sort of relevant outfit, like a tricorn-type hat, or in one case, a welder’s garb for the Anvil Chorus:
And did I mention how great the singing was? Here’s a partial clip of Kirsten Watson and Soon-Chan Kwon singing the lovely Brindisi from La Traviata:
Mezzo Soprano Kathryn Findlen sings a piece from Carmen… She’s everything you could want in a Carmen!